Lot 125
  • 125

A muraqqa' of calligraphic specimens, Persia, Turkey and Near East, 10th-16th century

15,000 - 20,000 GBP
35,000 GBP
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  • ink on paper with leather binding
13 leaves, comprising 24 different calligraphic specimens, including a Kufic Qur'an leaf, 16 pages with text in nasta'liq script, 7 in naskh, thuluth and tawqi' script and a découpage panel signed by 'Fahri', all set into album pages with different coloured outer margins, brown morocco binding with gilt-stamped lobed central cartouches and cusped corner pieces filled with large floral sprays

Catalogue Note

Of the twenty-four calligraphic panels included in this decorative album, the following are of most interest:

F.2a: A folio from a Kufic Qur’an with an attribution in the margin that it is in Imam ‘Ali's hand.
F.2b: A découpage page in blue nasta’liq script: a quatrain by Salman Savaji copied by Fahri.

The greatest master of Ottoman paper-cutters, Fahri of Bursa is celebrated for presenting an extraordinary découpage composition, known as Gulistan, to Sultan Ahmed I (r.1603-17). The so-called Album of Murad III in Vienna also includes very fine examples executed by Fahri of Bursa. He is the only specific paper cutter (qa'ati) mentioned by the Ottoman chronicler Mustafa 'Ali in his history of calligraphers and artists (manaqib-i hunarwaran), written in 1580, and one whose work was deemed worthy of inclusion in royal albums. Fahri of Bursa was also renowned for his unparalleled skills in executing garden scenes and floral compositions. Praised by many authorities and considered unsurpassable, Fahri of Bursa died in 1617.  

F.6a: A page in shikasteh ta’liq, copied in Herat by Ikhtiyar al-munshi ibn ‘Ali al-Gunabadi.

Khwajah Ikhtiyar al-Munshi, the most famous calligrapher of this style, was from Herat and never left that city. He worked for thirty years as a secretary to Prince Sultan Muhammad, son of Shah Tahmasp (Minorsky, Calligraphers and Painters, Washington, 1959, pp.126-3; Qazi Mir Ahmad Munshi Qomi, Golestan-e honar, edited by A. Soheyli-Khwansari, Tehran, 1352 sh, p.49).

F.7b: Four verses copied in two oblique panels in nasta’liq, signed as ‘Ali al-katib al-Sultani.

He is better known as Mir ‘Ali al-Harawi, the famous nasta’liq calligrapher who worked in the court of Sultan Husayn Bayqara in Herat and signed his works with the title al-katib al-sultani. After the capture of Herat by the Safavids, he remained there until the Uzbek capture of Herat by ‘Ubayd Khan in 1528-29, when he was moved to Bukhara alongside many other artists and calligraphers. His recorded works are dated between 914 AH/1508-09 AD and 951 AH/1544-45 AD, the year reported as his death date (Mehdi Bayani, ahval va athar-e khosh-navisan, vol.II, Tehran, 1347 sh, pp.493-516; Minorsky, op.cit., pp.126-31).

F.13a: A line of naskh and the colophon in tawqi’, signed by Yusuf ibn ‘Abdullah (unrecorded) on 10 Rabi’ I, 1004 AH/13 November 1595 AD.